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USF athletic director: Spring football game now canceled

The annual BullsFest fundraising auction also has been put off to 2021, Michael Kelly says.
USF receiver Xavier Weaver (84) runs through drills during the Bulls' spring practice at the Frank Morsani Football Complex on March 10.
USF receiver Xavier Weaver (84) runs through drills during the Bulls' spring practice at the Frank Morsani Football Complex on March 10. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]
Published Mar. 20, 2020

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With the coronavirus crisis intensifying, USF’s hopes of holding a spring football game, even at a much later date, have regressed from faint to forget-about-it.

“In essence, it’s canceled,” athletic director Michael Kelly said Friday on his weekly school-produced podcast that can be heard here.

“Once we get a better feel for when it’s safe and prudent to practice, maybe there’s something we could do…it just won’t be played in the spring. So it’s just a matter of how we’ll adjust to appropriate conditioning and practicing once it is safe to get back together.”

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Aside from a “skeleton crew” working out of the Selmon Center, Kelly indicated Bulls athletics essentially are on hiatus. These days, his focus primarily is on a “daily census” of making sure all staff and student-athletes remain in a safe setting.

He anticipates meeting with all his coaches via video conference each Wednesday moving forward.

“I really want not only to keep us focused on our academic work,” he said, “but just from a mental health standpoint, just from a communal standpoint, I think it’s really important that our coaches, our staff, our student-athletes kind of have that daily touch and connections to make sure that we’re taking care of each other and moving forward.”

Meantime, everything is off until at least mid-May if not later as the university transitions to a remote-learning setup through the end of the semester. The American Athletic Conference already has announced all competitions and championships have canceled for the rest of the academic year.

“All of this is really in accordance with the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommendations of limiting gatherings of people for at least eight weeks,” Kelly said. “And that’s why we don’t anticipate any athletics activities until at least May 7.”

The football team’s pro day, set for March 30, obviously is off. The program’s fundraising golf tournament with Coach Jeff Scott, scheduled for April 17, could be played later in the summer.

A fundraising golf tourney for the Bulls volleyball team, originally set to be played earlier this week, has been rescheduled for Aug. 1. Even the annual BullsFest, a huge athletics fundraising auction set for May 16, won’t occur this year.

“We’re just gonna kind of push that back to 2021 to this point in time,” Kelly said, “which is a disappointment to many, but it’s something we knew we had to do.”

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